Toronto, Ontario – Canadian public transit ridership increased 3.5 per cent in 2008 to an all-time record year of 1.82 billion trips, according to the Canadian Urban Transit Association (CUTA). Over five years, from 2003, transit ridership has increased by 16 per cent.

“For six consecutive years, Canadian transit systems continue to outdo the previous year’s record,” said CUTA chair Charles Stolte. “The growth is an increase of 62 million trips, which is more than the entire ridership at a transit system the size of Quebec City or Edmonton Transit.”

CUTA said that while ridership compared to 2007’s numbers grew by 2.6 per cent nationally in the first half of 2008, it grew by 4.5 per cent in the second half, precisely when the economy started to fall into recession and unemployment was going up, even though gasoline prices had fallen from the spike they had experienced in the summer of 2008. Historically, transit ridership corresponds negatively to these trends.

CUTA’s most recent national infrastructure survey reported that $40.1 billion is needed for public transit capital investment for 2008 to 2012. The association also continues to advocate for the implementation of a National Transit Strategy, including dedicated long-term funding to support transit needs in communities of all sizes in Canada.

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